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Surname Nowicki - but Jewish ancestors?

7 Oct 2016 #1
Hello dear Community,

My Name is a variant of the polish surname Nowicki, but a YDNA-Test surprised me a bit, when the result said that I have jewish ancestors (HAplogroup J1).

I have a question for geneaoly-experts: Was the name Nowicki given to jewish people? Was that quite normal? Does this name have a meaning for jewish people?

Thank you for your help,

Ironside 51 | 11,510
7 Oct 2016 #2
Was the name Nowicki given to jewish people?

No really. That is a quite common name in Poland and is not associated with the Jewish ancestry.

Was that quite normal?

What was normal? Assimilation, mixed marriages or relationships. We are talking about centuries here - sure those things did happen.

Does this name have a meaning for jewish people?

Even if it does ( I think not) that is a purely Polish name.
DominicB - | 2,709
7 Oct 2016 #3
Was the name Nowicki given to jewish people?

You're making an assumption that your Jewish male line ancestor was named Nowicki. That may not be the case. It cannot be ruled out, for example, that your great-great-great-etc-grandmother had an affair and an illegitimate child, probably without the knowledge of her husband, a Pole named Nowicki. Or that they adopted a child, or took in a foundling. Or any of many scenarios where there was no link between genes and surname.

Only research can give an answer, as far as research is capable. Often, research is impossible and the answers you are looking for are irretrievably lost forever as no records exist.

Genes are not tied to surnames, or ethnicity, for that matter, as neatly as you seem to assume. Also, a Jew or Jewish convert could theoretically assume any Polish name for a variety of reasons.
gumishu 11 | 5,761
7 Oct 2016 #4
Was the name Nowicki given to jewish people?

Jews who worked for Polish gentry often adopted the surnames of those they worked for - so there are Jews with surnames like Potocki this can be the case with your situation

other case when a Jew would adopt a Polish noble sounding surname was in the event of conversion to christianity - it was not always legal to do it though (there were laws passed sometime in the 19th century that forbid changing the Jewish surnames to Polish sounding ones in parts of Poland)
OP Nowicki1229
7 Oct 2016 #5
There were some jewish families in Galicia - some gravestones still exist! But I really dont know how much jewish families with this name existed and why they had this surname...
jon357 67 | 17,501
7 Oct 2016 #6
There were some jewish families in Galicia

I would say very many rather than some. Having the DNA doesn't of course mean that they were a Jewish family. It could be as simple as an ancestor having an affair with a neighbour.
OP Nowicki1229
7 Oct 2016 #7
They were jewish - I uploaded this picture because you would have to sign up to see the records!

I am confused...
jon357 67 | 17,501
7 Oct 2016 #8
You said in the original post that the DNA result surprised you - have you subsequently found a document that mitigates that surprise?
OP Nowicki1229
7 Oct 2016 #9
Not, not really.

The oldest ancestor I can trace back to is my great-grandfather who was born in 1902 in Czechoslovakia - he belonged to the hungarian minority and he was - as far as I know - roman catholic. I dont know why he had a polish surname and that Haplogroup (which is a Cohenim-Haplogroup) was the killer!
jon357 67 | 17,501
7 Oct 2016 #10
It might really be something as simple as an affair between two people many years before
Nowicki1229 - | 4
8 Jan 2017 #11
Ive read an article about jewish conversions to catholicism, their surname Nowicki comes from "Nowe Icki" look here:
Nowicki1229 - | 4
8 Jan 2017 #12
[Moved from]: Coat of Arms - Novicky family ?

Hello dear Members

Someone in my family who is looking for the heritage of the Novicky family found this Coat of Arms in an archive in Lviv. He said that the Novicky family was during the 13.,-17. century a powerful family in the Polish-Lituanian Commonwealth in the districts of later Galicia. When the russians invaded, they disappeared.

Does somebody know this Coat of Arms or the family this story is about?

Thank you a lot!
DominicB - | 2,709
8 Jan 2017 #13
It's, of course, completely ridiculous. It isn't a Jewish-specific name, and it means someone who comes from a place that was once called a "new settlement".
Nowicki1229 - | 4
8 Jan 2017 #14
I never was in Poland before and I don't know polish history of surnames and their beginning. It may seems "completely ridiculous" to you, but for someone who has no contact with polish culture it is not.

But thank you anyway.
DominicB - | 2,709
8 Jan 2017 #15
There is no such thing as the "Nowicki family", just like there is no "the Jones family" or "the Smith family". There are hundreds of completely unrelated families that use that very common surname, some noble, but mostly peasant.

The stuff about a coat of arms is, of course, total nonsense. It's mostly Romantic Era baloney.
DominicB - | 2,709
8 Jan 2017 #16
Here's a clue: You are not going to learn anything about Poland from a ridiculous far-right-wing rag like the one you linked to. I take it you at least read Polish, and that you read the article. It doesn't take much to figure out it is ultra-right wing neo-fascist drivel. It took me about two seconds.

If you really want to know about Poland and Polish culture, you should be more selective about your reading material.
Nowicki1229 - | 4
8 Jan 2017 #17
Thank you for this hint.

I found this article by searching on Google.
BasvanElburg - | 1
16 Dec 2017 #18
Hi Nowicki,

Mine is J1 as well. Polish ancestors in paternal line too. Did you do your Y-test at Family Tree DNA?
26 Dec 2018 #19
Please study the history of Prussia. You cannot answer the question of the Polish vs German ancestry of Nowitski in the context of current post WW II European borders. In addition to East and West Prussia in northern Poland and the Baltic Sates, there were small ethnically German populations in central Poland, Hungary and the Ukraine. In Selasia, a small Prussian State in central Poland, there were many ethnic Germans as well as Poles. My great grandmother Kubitsky was an ethnic German born in the Prussian city of Breslau, (known in Polish as Wroclaw) only 100 miles from Warsaw. I'm fairly certain Dirk Nowitski's German ancestors were from one of the three German states in current day Poland and the Baltic States.

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